Hernández: Change position? Why Scouts Prefer to See UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson Toss

Dorian Thompson-Robinson had a secret plan to increase his move-in stock.

“I don’t think anyone else knows,” he said with a mischievous smile.

At UCLA’s Pro Day, Thompson-Robinson wanted to perform drills that would show his potential to play other positions as quarterback.

“Just try to show a different look and add value to myself,” he said.

The response from NFL scouts who visited Spaulding Field on Wednesday: Don’t worry.

“They want to see me as quarterback,” Thompson-Robinson said.

Thompson-Robinson was encouraged by the development.

Thompson-Robinson, a five-year starter at UCLA, is considered an NFL prospect on the sidelines. He could be a late-round draft pick next month. Or he couldn’t be picked up at all.

The uncertainty didn’t seem to weigh on 23-year-old Thompson-Robinson as he addressed a small group of reporters after he threw passes to other draft-eligible Bruins including Zach Charbonnet, Jake Bobo, Kazmeir Allen and Michael Ezeike.

“You can’t really control things outside of your control,” Thompson-Robinson said.

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson throws to a slicing receiver during UCLA Pro Day.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

And he thinks he controlled what he could.

After the nine-win season at UCLA, Thompson-Robinson moved to Orange County to train under quarterback coach Jordan Palmer, along with fellow members Will Levis (Kentucky), Hendon Hooker (Tennessee), Max Duggan (Texas Christian) and Clayton Tune (Houston). ).

Thompson-Robinson also trained with speed performance coach Les Spellman.

The preparation led to a positive performance at the NFL Combine last month, where Thompson-Robinson recorded the fastest throw of any quarterback at 62 mph. (Possible No. 1 overall winner Anthony Richardson was second fastest at 60 mph.)

“Palmer has always told us he has the best quick wit of any guy he coaches,” said Sam Mirza, one of Thompson-Robinson’s agents at Equity Sports.

Thompson-Robinson measured 6ft 2, an inch taller than he was listed by UCLA.

“You measure him in the morning, he’s an inch taller,” joked Mirza.

Still, Thompson-Robinson is aware that he remains a target of criticism.

“Very conscious,” he said, laughing.

He knows his consistency is skeptical about his ability to make pass me plays.

“If you look back over the last two years and really look at the tape, you’ll see that there’s a different player than assumption that’s out there before I even step onto the field,” Thompson-Robinson said. “I know I wasn’t the best player in my first few years here, and even in [the COVID-shortened 2020 season]. But I guarantee you there aren’t many gamer films out there that can compete with ours here over the past two years.”

In a nutshell, his .696 graduation percentage ranked sixth in the country last season and set a school record.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) practices for scouts at the school's Pro Day ahead of the NFL draft.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) trains for professional scouts at the school’s Pro Day ahead of the NFL Draft.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Thompson-Robinson was a controversial figure for most of his college career. The way he’s managed to change the fandom’s perception of him is something his agents hope can be useful at the next level.

“I think every time you have a guy who has faced a sense of adversity and grown from it and gained fans, that’s a trait that not many have,” said Derek Hawkridge, who co-wrote Thompson-Robinson Mirza represents.

Thompson-Robinson said he met with a “handful” of teams at the Indianapolis combine.

“When I got into a meeting, I got a basketball thrown at me and had to take free throws,” he said.

Thompson Robinson laughed.

“I missed all but one,” he said. “So they definitely knew not to put me on the basketball team.”

When asked what he might do if he doesn’t get drafted, Thompson-Robinson replied, “I have no thoughts at all.”

He smiled.

“I actually do,” he said. “I have business plans and all that stuff. I made a lot of connections at UCLA.”

Thompson-Robinson said his mother received his degree in the mail about a month ago.

“But I’m not worried about that,” he said. “I know football will work.”

If Thompson-Robinson doesn’t end up on an NFL team as a drafted player or an undrafted free agent, would he take a detour to another league to pursue his dream?

“That’s more of a question in about two months,” he said. “I was out here before [a] Millions NFL scouts and not CFL and XFL scouts. So right now my mindset is on the NFL until I hear otherwise.

Thompson-Robinson was still smiling. He was calm. He spoke like someone with a UCLA degree in hand, which spoke well of him and Coach Chip Kelly’s program. He has a promising future. The only question is whether that future includes the NFL.

Source : www.latimes.com

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